The Incredible Hulk may offer a solid amount of our green friend but the narrative is a bit on the thin side when all is said and done.
After being on the run for five years as a fugitive, Bruce Banner (Ed Norton) has found solitude in Brazil. He’s doing what he can to avoid another incident where Mr. Green–as he calls himself in internet correspondence with Mr. Blue–comes out to fight. A freak accident at the the bottling company he works at leads to gamma poisoning in Wisconsin. Enter General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt) into the picture. He knows immediately who caused this and he’s not losing Banner again. General Ross sends in a team of special forces led by Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth).
Once Blonsky learns the truth about Banner, he wants what Banner has. This is a solider who will not take no for an answer. Blonsky gets the serum and he gets abilities similar to that of Captain America. The only difference is that this particular serum has some side effects that mess both both his skeleton and judgement.
Eventually, Banner and Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) meet up with Mr. Blue–Dr. Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson)–in New York. It’s here where they learn that Sterns has synthesized Banner’s blood. There may even be an antidote in the works. Anyway, Blonsky captures Banner but then wants Sterns to inject him with Banner’s blood. You would think that everyone would have learned after Banner became the Hulk but nope, this just isn’t meant to be. Sterns performs the experiment after Blonsky pretty much orders him to do so. This results in Blonsky becoming the Abomination. Meanwhile, Sterns gets blood on his face and starts to turn into the Leader.
With the Abomination running all over Manhattan, Gen. Ross realizes that the Hulk is the only option. It’s more of a win-win situation when you think of it. All eyes turn towards Harlem where the two face off in battle. New York really can’t catch a break in the MCU! If it’s not one attack, it’s another!
Hulk films work with just the right amount of Hulk. This is where The Avengers goes right while The Incredible Hulk goes wrong. Yes, there’s the epic fight between Hulk and the Abomination but it’s otherwise General Ross chasing Hulk. I need more than this! Regardless of which, this film is way better than the Eric Bana-starring film directed by Ang Lee.
One of the biggest positives is that there’s no retelling of the origin story. At least not in the traditional sense of the word. We do get a glimpse at Hulk’s origin but it only comes during the credits. The Hulk last saw a feature film five years earlier in 2003 so we don’t need to see a dragged out origin story here. What we do get is a limited origin that also ties in the film with the bigger picture. In the MCU, Banner becomes the Hulk because of the military’s attempt to bring back the super soldier program. Mistakes happen and the Hulk is in eventual result.
If this is the only solo Hulk film that we get, it’s a good one. It’s not a great film by any means but it’s perfectly serviceable.
DIRECTOR: Louis Leterrier
SCREENWRITER: Zak Pen
CAST: Ed Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, and William Hurt